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Kentucky Psychology Licensure Requirements

If you are interested in becoming a psychologist in Kentucky, you will need to meet all of the requirements set forth by the Board of Examiners of Psychology, the state organization that oversees psychology licensure. These requirements include earning a doctoral degree in psychology, completing a certain number of supervised work hours, passing three exams, and submitting an application to the Board. Because there are many steps to becoming a licensed psychologist in Kentucky, we’ve prepared a guide with step-by-step information for each part of this process. We’ve also included answers to commonly-asked questions about psychology licensure in Kentucky, such as:

» How do I become a psychologist in Kentucky?
» I have earned a PhD or PsyD and I am ready to learn how to get a psychologist license in Kentucky.
» What are Kentucky’s supervised professional experience rules and regulations?
» What psychology exams are required in Kentucky?
» I am already a licensed psychologist in another state; how do I become licensed in Kentucky through reciprocity?
» What other psychology licensure options are there in Kentucky?
» How do I renew my psychology license in Kentucky?
» How much do psychologists in Kentucky make?

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Kentucky

To become a licensed psychologist in Kentucky, you will need to complete three main steps. First, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in any subject (and can choose to earn an optional master’s degree). Next, you will need to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. After completing these requirements, you can begin the process of becoming licensed as a psychologist.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in psychology.

The first step to becoming a psychologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree in any subject; you are not required to study psychology at this stage. Depending on the school you attend and your major, you may earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Both of these degrees are accepted by graduate programs in psychology. Bachelor’s degrees generally take four years of full-time study (about 120 credit hours) to complete.

After you complete your bachelor’s degree, you may choose to complete an optional stand-alone master’s degree in psychology. This is not a required step, and you may earn a master’s degree while you are enrolled in your doctoral program (see Step 2 below). However, a stand-alone master’s degree in psychology can be a helpful option if you did not study psychology for your bachelor’s degree or if you would like more experience to make sure psychology is the right path for you before applying to doctoral programs. Although requirements can vary between programs, master’s degrees typically take about two years (35-45 credit hours) to finish, and may be focused on general psychology or one of its specialty areas. If you complete one of these programs, you will earn either a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS) degree.

Another reason to get your master’s in psychology in Kentucky is that you can become licensed as a psychological associate with a just a master’s degree, which allows you to practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. To be eligible for a psychological associate license, you must earn a master’s degree from a psychology program that is regionally accredited, includes 600 hours of supervised work experience, and includes coursework in specific areas (see the Application for Licensure as a Psychological Associate for more information on required courses).

2. Earn a PsyD, PhD, or EdD in psychology.

When you have finished your bachelor’s degree (and, optionally, a master’s degree in psychology), the next step towards becoming a psychologist in Kentucky is to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. There are three degrees that you can earn: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology, a Doctor of Education (EdD) in psychology, or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. Completing a PhD, an EdD, or a PsyD usually takes four to seven years, depending on the requirements of the program you attend.

For licensure in Kentucky, you must earn your doctoral degree from a regionally accredited psychology program that requires at least three semester hours of practicum work and fulfills certain coursework requirements (see the Application for Licensure as a Psychologist for details about required courses). The program must also include a predoctoral internship that is at least 1,800 hours long.

Please visit our Psychology Schools in Kentucky page for more information about programs you can consider applying to.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Kentucky.

After you have earned your doctoral degree, you can begin the process of becoming licensed as a psychologist in Kentucky. For this, you will need to submit an application to the Board, complete supervised professional hours, and pass three tests. We’ve provided step-by-step instructions below to help you complete each of these tasks.

Kentucky Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Submit an application to the Board for a temporary license.

The first step in the licensure process is to complete and submit an Application for Licensure as a Psychologist to the Board. If you have not yet completed all of your supervised professional hours (see Step 2 below), you can indicate this on the last page of the form. In addition to completing the application, you will need to include three letters of recommendation from people who can attest to your work within the past five years (at least two of these letters must come from individuals with doctoral degrees in psychology) and a $200 application fee. You will also need to have your undergraduate and graduate transcripts sent to the Board.

Once your application has been approved by the Board, you will be issued a temporary license. This will allow you to finish earning your supervised hours (if needed) and take the exams required for licensure (see Step 3).

2. Gain two years of supervised professional experience (SPE) in your area of training.

In Kentucky, you must complete at least two years (3,600 hours) of SPE to be granted a license to practice psychology, at least 50% of which must come from activities related to providing services (e.g., intervention, note-writing, case presentations). While you are earning these hours, you must receive supervision from a licensed psychologist with the Health Service Provider (HSP) designation.

1,800 of your SPE hours must be earned in the required predoctoral internship that you complete as part of your degree. At least 450 of these internship hours (25%) must come from face-to-face contact with patients; you must also receive at least two hours of supervision and two hours of didactic experiences per week. The remaining 1,800 SPE hours can come from any combination of predoctoral and postdoctoral experiences; however, introductory courses and beginner practicum placements cannot be counted. Any experiences applied towards these hours must include training in clinical skills, legal and ethical issues, and supervision.

If you are planning to complete any SPE hours under your temporary license, you and your supervisor must first submit a Supervisory Plans and Goals form to the Board and wait for approval before you begin practicing. You will need to plan for at least one hour of supervision per week and your supervisor will also need to submit a Supervisory Report every six months. SPE hours accrued while you are still a graduate student do not require these forms.

3. Pass the Kentucky psychology licensing exams.

When the Board issues your temporary license, they will also grant you permission to take the exams required for licensure. The first test you will need to take is the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP consists of 225 multiple-choice questions covering a number of domains of psychology and you must earn a scaled score of 500 or higher to pass. It costs a total of $687.50 to register for the EPPP.

After you have passed the EPPP, the Board will provide you with instructions on taking the two state exams. One of these is a test on the rules and regulations related to mental health practice in Kentucky; you must earn a score of 80% or higher to pass. The other is an oral exam on ethical and professional principles. On this exam, you will be rated by two licensed psychologists and you need to receive a “pass” from both to successfully complete the test.

4. Request your full psychology license.

After you have completed your SPE and passed all of the required exams, you will be eligible to receive your full license. If you have not already done so, complete and submit the final page of the Application for Licensure as a Psychologist, which will document any SPE hours you earned under your temporary license. Your EPPP and state exam scores should be automatically sent to the Board. Once they have received proof that you have completed all of the requirements, you will be required to pay a $250 licensure fee to receive your full license.

Kentucky Licensure by Reciprocity

If you are licensed as a psychologist in another state, you may be able to receive a psychology license in Kentucky through reciprocity. To be eligible for licensure by reciprocity, you must have been practicing under your current license for at least five years and either be certified by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists or have a Certificate of Professional Qualification (CPQ) from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). If you meet these criteria, you can submit a completed Application For Licensure as a Psychologist by Reciprocity to the Board along with an application fee of $200. After your application is reviewed, you will also need to take the two state exams before being granted your license.

If you have been practicing for at least five years and do not have a CPQ or a certificate from the National Register, you can still apply for a Kentucky license. For this, you will complete the Application for Licensure of a Psychologist Licensed in Another State and submit it with a $200 application fee. The Board will review your education and experience and determine whether you are eligible for a psychology license in Kentucky. If they believe that you meet the necessary criteria for licensure, they will have you take the state exams before issuing your license.

Other Psychology Licenses in Kentucky

There are several other credentials issued by the Board that you may want to consider if you are planning to practice psychology in Kentucky.

Psychological Associate

If you would like to practice with a master’s degree, you can become licensed as a psychological associate. To be qualified, you must have attended a regionally accredited psychology program that includes 600 hours of supervised experience and meets certain coursework requirements. To apply for this license, you will need to submit an Application for Licensure as a Psychological Associate, three letters of recommendation (at least two from doctoral-level psychologists), and a $100 application fee. You will also need to take the EPPP and earn a score of at least 400. Once issued, the psychological associate license allows you to practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.

Psychological Practitioner

After five full-time years of supervised practice as a psychological associate, you can apply for licensure as a psychological practitioner. This license will allow you to complete some work independently without supervision. To convert your license from psychological associate to psychological practitioner, you will need to complete the Application for Licensure as a Psychological Practitioner and submit three letters of recommendation (one must be from your current supervisor) along with an application fee of $200. You will also need to earn a 500 or higher on the EPPP (if your previous score met this requirement, you do not have to retake the exam) and pass the state exams.

Health Service Provider (HSP) Designation

If you choose to become a licensed psychologist following the steps described previously on this page, you can also consider pursuing the Health Service Provider (HSP) designation, which allows you to provide supervision to trainees and licensed psychological associates. To be eligible for HSP designation, you must complete an additional 1,800 hours of SPE (beyond the 3,600 hours required to become a licensed psychologist). You can complete these hours while you hold your temporary license or you can earn them after you have already become a licensed psychologist. Like any postdoctoral SPE hours, you must have a Supervisory Plans and Goals form approved by the Board and your supervisor must periodically complete the Supervisory Report form. Once you have completed these requirements, you can contact the Board to request the HSP designation.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

After the Board issues your license, you will need to keep it active by renewing it every three years. Each renewal period ends three years after your license was first issued or last renewed and all renewal forms must be submitted before these dates to avoid any additional fees.

To be eligible for license renewal, you will need to complete 39 hours of continuing education (CE) during each renewal period. The Board automatically approves CE activities that are sponsored by national or local psychological associations as well as some other organizations. If you want to attend a program that is not sponsored by one of these organizations, you can request approval in advance by completing the Continuing Education Program Application and paying a $50 fee. Graduate psychology courses can also be counted towards CE requirements.

The Board also has some requirements regarding the content of CE activities. During every renewal period, licensed psychology providers must complete three CE credits in activities related to risk assessment and ethics. If you have the HSP designation, three CE credits must come from education in supervision-related topics. Every six years (i.e., every other renewal period), all licensed providers must complete six CE credits in the prevention, assessment, and management of suicide. If you earn more than 39 CE credits in a renewal period, you cannot apply any of them to the next period.

Once you have completed all of the required CE activities, you can apply to renew your license through the Kentucky Department of Professional Licensing’s Online Services. You will need to pay a $100 renewal fee when you complete the required forms.

Kentucky Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for a psychologist in Kentucky, excluding teachers, is $75,810.1 Specifically, the average salary for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is $63,650, for postsecondary psychology teachers in Kentucky earn an average of it is $73,070 per year, and for psychologists in the “all other” category it is $87,970.1

If you are planning to apply to psychologist jobs in Kentucky, know that the number of positions is expected to increase by an average of 8.45% between 2016 and 2026.2 The outlook is especially good for counseling, clinical, and school psychology positions, which are expected to rise by 12.5%.2 Psychology jobs in the “all other” category are expected to increase by 4.4% during this time period.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists1,180$63,650
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other160$87,970
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary670$73,070

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a psychologist in Kentucky?

Becoming a psychologist in Kentucky involves a number of different steps, including completing a doctoral degree in psychology, passing three exams, and earning a certain number of supervised hours. Completing all of these steps usually takes about 10 years. However, this amount of time can vary based on factors such as your school’s requirements and when you earn your supervised hours.

What degree do I need to be a licensed psychologist in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, you can earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology, a Doctor of Education (EdD) in psychology, or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) to be qualified to become licensed. Additionally, you must earn your degree from a psychology program that is regionally accredited, includes three semesters of practicum work, meets the Board’s coursework requirements, and involves a 1,800-hour internship.

Does Kentucky require supervised postdoctoral hours to become licensed?

Unlike many other states, Kentucky does not require that any of your supervised professional experience (SPE) be completed after you have finished your doctoral degree. However, if you have not completed all 3,600 required hours by the time you graduate or if you are planning to pursue designation as a health service provider, you will need to complete some postdoctoral SPE hours.

Additional Resources

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Kentucky: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ky.htm
2. Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm